ISSUE OF THE MONTH - How to get your app right
In part 1 of this series we talk to John Saadie, Director, OrderUp! whose company offers online ordering solutions for QSR's about the when and why of developing an app.
QSR Media: What is the benefit of having an application designed for a business?
John: Apps have become very popular with business operators and customers. With almost every person owning a smartphone or tablet these days, apps allow you to put your business right in front of your customer at all times. The greatest benefits of having your own app are:
a. Build Loyalty
b. Re-enforce your brand
c. Connect with customers on the go (online ordering, specials etc)
d. Increase your visibility in the marketplace
e. Stand out from your competitors by offering intuitive ways to connect with your business.
QSR Media: If I'm building an application, do I have to build a separate app for both the iOS and Android platform? What options do I have?
John: If you want to build a Native application, then you should build a separate app for both the iOS and Android platforms.
Initially a lot of businesses were only building iOS apps, but the take up of the Android operating system is so popular that you cannot ignore the platform. It does become a costly exercise updating and maintain two versions of your app, but if you want the apps to be built using the native SDK of the platform, then you don’t have a choice.
That being said, you can build your app using HTML5, and use a third party platform such as ‘’Phone Gap” which will convert the app to a iOS and Android App. This way you only need to update and maintain the one source code. Apps developed this way can be cost effective, but personally I don’t think anything beats building them using the native SDK’s.
QSR Media: How do I control the data within an app and what's the process of getting it into the app store?
John: Controlling the data with your app can be managed several ways. You can have all of your data stored within the app, which means that if you want to make an update you sometimes have to wait a few days to have it reviewed and re-submitted to the app store. This can be slow and frustrating, especially if you need to make an urgent update.
The other way is to have your app connected to an API, which lets the app read in the data from a database. This data can be manipulated remotely via a content management system, and enables your data to be dynamic and updateable at any time.
Apple require you to enrol for a developer licence and pay an annual fee to upload your app to the App store. Google require you to pay a one-time fee to register and upload your app to the app store.
QSR Media: How long is the typical time frame from the initial design phase to the launch of an app?
John: This will depend on the size of the project, but typically it can be anything from 3 weeks +
QSR Media: How much does an average app cost to develop? Is it only for the big chains?
John: Apps like any other digital or marketing solution can vary in cost depending on the size of the project. They are definitely accessible to business of all sizes. We have built apps from $4000 to $70,000.
QSR Media: I now have my app built, how do I get people to use it?
John: People will only use the app if it offers them some sort of convenience (ordering online), specials, loyalty, discounts or other engaging functionality. By having your app in the app stores you will also receive extra exposure for your app, but you will still need to use your marketing/advertising methods to educate your customers about your app and the benefits to them for downloading it. Social media and apps go really well together, so using Facebook to advertise your app can really help your campaign.
QSR Media: What's the difference between an app and a mobile website? Advantages vs Disadvantages?
John: An app is much faster than a mobile website. Some apps can load in seconds, whereas mobile websites can take a lot longer to load.
The other great advantage to an app is that it can function offline (depending on content). A mobile website will always require an internet connection.
Apps also allow you to offer the end user better functionality and the experience is normally smoother and not as slow and clunky as a mobile site.
Apps allow you to send push notifications to your customers, this is like them receiving an sms but it can be sent for free saving you money. The more people that download your app, the more people you can connect with directly.
Mobile sites are good because the customer does not need to go to an app store to download the app first.
Mobile sites are good because they can usually be updated faster than an app as it doesn’t go through the approval process that apps do.
Mobile websites are good when customers find you through Google on their phone. Having a mobile site gives the customer a great user experience and may be the reason they use your services as opposed to a competitor.